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99.1 percent accuracy if a fetus has Down syndrome. Sequenom says its proprietary test detects the abnormal chromosome for the syndrome in fragments of fetal DNA that circulate in the maternal bloodstream. Revelations concerning “mishandled” research data led Sequenom to shelve an RNA-based diagnostic test in 2009. Sequenom also recently announced plans to build an $18.7 million molecular diagnostics clinical laboratory in Research Triangle Park, NC.
—While the past decade has been all about generating DNA sequence data for whole genomes, Luke predicted in his BioBeat that the next decade will be all about interpreting that data. As such companies as Illumina, Life Technologies, Complete Genomics, and PacBio accelerate the speed of sequencing equipment, experts agree the $1,000 genome is only a couple years away.
—Using voice-recognition software much like the system already available in the Ford Edge crossover SUV, a team at Ford Research & Innovation near Detroit, MI, are developing technology to help diabetic motorists monitor their blood sugar on the go. At the Wireless Health 2011 Academic and Research Conference in San Diego last week, Ford’s K. Venkatesh Prasad said he’s been working with Medtronic and WellDoc to develop technologies that can motorists manage their chronic illnesses.
—We reported a series of financing deals for life sciences startups in the San Diego area: AnaptysBio got $8 million for its work on antibody-based therapies; Sonexa Therapeutics raised $1 million to advance its work on Alzheimer’s; Eclipse Therapeutics raised $2.8 million for it’s approach to treating cancer; and Naviscan got $830,000 to advance its Positron Emission Tomography scanner technology.
—Shanghai’s WuXi PharmaTech said it acquired Abgent, based in San Diego and Suzhou, China, which is one of the world’s largest makers of antibody reagents. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
—San Diego’s Panmira Pharmaceuticals, the startup created to develop promising drug candidates that were not part of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $325 million acquisition of Amira Pharmaceuticals earlier this year, named Hari Kumar as CEO. Kumar was Amira’s chief business officer and led Amira’s side of the Bristol-Myers transaction—which was focused on the sale of Amira’s fibrosis program.